Meles Zenawi jails two young fiery critics By Abebe Gellaw
The Vice President of Unity for Democracy and Justice Party, Andulalem Andargie, and journalist Enskinder Nega have reportedly been detained by security agents in Addis Ababa.
Andulam was picked up late afternoon at UDJ’s headquarters while Eskinder was reportedly arrested at the same time but at a different location. The two fiery critics of the Meles regime have been vocal about the rights of the Ethiopian people to live in freedom. Eskinder and Adualem have recently said that the people of Ethiopia must intensify their struggle to end tyranny, oppression and abuses at the hands of the Meles regime.
Aklog Limenh, Chairman of UDJ North America Association of Support Organizations, said that the latest round of arrest is only symptomatic of the desperation of the regime. He pointed out that such a blatant measure would backfire as it would inspire the people to intensify their struggle for freedom.
He said that Ethiopians are tired of bowing to tyranny and oppression. “The more people are abused and their inalienable rights violated, the more they rise up in greater resolve. The struggle has to continue and nothing will hold back Ethiopias from demanding an end to indignity and abuses.”
In his recent articles, journalist Eskinder Nega has been boldly calling on his fellow countrymen to take inspiration from the gallant peoples of North Africa. In an article he wrote in connection with the incarceration of Artiste Debebe Eshetu, Eskinder had predicted that the Ethiopian new year would be a year “when Ethiopians will no more be incarcerated for their political convictions…There will no more be tortures in our prisons, Ethiopians will no more have reasons to flee to exile…” Contrary to his prediction, the year has started with his own detention.
“2004 could be the year when we, too, like the majority of our fellow Africans, will have a government by the people, for the people,” Eskinder wrote.
In a New Year message, UDJ had called on the people of Ethiopia to rise up to defend their freedom. “The Ethiopian New Year of 2004 should not continue to be a year of darkness as have been the years in the past. It must be a year of legal and peaceful struggle. The struggle we wage must be one that brings an all-round freedom to the Ethiopian people, including the members of EPRDF. The struggle must be free from racism, vengeance and bitterness,” UDJ said.
UDJ underscored that this New Year must be a year people cease pointing fingers at each other and get united to wage nonviolent struggle for freedom.”The dawning of the New Year must also be the dawning of freedom which we have been hungering for years,” the release stated.
The Meles regime has recently charged a record number of journalists with acts of terrorism. Reyot Alemu, columnist for Fiteh, Deputy Editor of Awramba Times, Woubeshet Taye, editor of US-based Ethiopian Review website, Elias Kifle and two Swedish journalists, Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye have been facing terrorism charges.
Famed artiste Debebe Eshetu was also detained at the weekend. He was also accused of plotting terrorism. Sources close to Debebe say that he was detained at a time when he was preparing to release his book, which is said to be an explosive account of abuse of power in Ethiopia.
Reports from Ethiopia consistently indicate that popular discontent has been significantly increasing as a result of oppression, skyrocketing cost of living, inflation, tax burden and confiscation of private property.